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Leveraging Opportunity Zones for Community Benefit

Join the Urban Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation for a discussion exploring how Chicago and Cook County can leverage Opportunity Zones for community benefit.

In December 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which included the Opportunity Zone tax incentive meant to spur economic development in communities lacking access to capital. The zones selected in Chicago and Cook County broadly fulfill the spirit of the incentive, targeting areas that were more economically distressed, and provide a national model. As the Internal Revenue Service announces new regulations, local changemakers are seeking guidance on how to capitalize on the incentive. A new brief offers strategies changemakers can implement to ensure investments yield the maximum benefit for communities, particularly for low- and moderate-income residents.

Panel discussions will explore how the City of Chicago, Cook County, state of Illinois, philanthropy, investors, community development financial institutions, community development corporations, and other institutional actors can align their efforts and capacities to attract substantial capital into the selected zones and ensure new capital benefits current community residents. The first panel will examine using zones to advance development and preservation of affordable housing, and the second will focus on how zones can build community wealth. The afternoon will conclude with a network building opportunity for attendees.



  • Rahm Emanuel, Mayor, City of Chicago
  • Nick Brunick, Attorney, Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen
  • Jim Casselberry, Chief Investment Officer, Sarowitz Family LLC
  • Derek R.B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement and External Affairs, University of Chicago 
  • Helene Gayle, President and CEO, The Chicago Community Trust
  • Bo Kemp, Senior Director, Faegre Baker Daniels
  • O. Victoria Lakes-Battle, Executive Director, Chicago, IFF
  • Scott Maxfield, Vice President, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group
  • Matt Reilein, Partner and Managing Director, Cresset Partners
  • Juan Salgado, Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago
  • Julia Stasch, President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Brett Theodos, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute





For questions regarding this event, contact [email protected]

Support for this event is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. For more information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles, go to


Date & Time Thursday, January 17, 2019
Malcolm X College 1900 W. Jackson Blvd
Chicago , IL , 60612
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  • Senior Fellow
  • President
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